Jessica Ankomah, 26
Lifestyle Editor, Yahoo Canada
Jessica Ankomah’s journey into journalism began with a classic love story; a rush from the written word saw her quit her job in finance and chase a career in the media industry.
“It was actually a love for music that led me to journalism… I was in love with expression,” Jessica, 26, said, “It began with writing songs, poems and before long even a good sentence would give me a rush.”
It was then that Jessica began envisioning herself as a writer, and decided to make some short-term sacrifices to pursue her dreams and study a bachelor of Journalism at Macleay College in Sydney.
“I left my job, which meant giving up my apartment and moving back to my Dad’s place, being really poor for two years and slowing my travels.”
Jessica was passionate about interning to build her skills and be more appealing to future employers.
While at Macleay College, she landed gigs with Beat Magazine, Aclaim Magazine and Nova Radio.
“Interning is THE KEY, to me, it’s almost as valuable as studying… No one is going to pay you to write if you’ve never written before—even if you’re good at it.”
Jessica said it is the valuable skills you learn on internships; attributing photos, writing headlines and meeting deadlines that helps you land jobs upon graduation.
“This is stuff you learn during an internship, not in the classroom.”
Jessica also believes that having a mentor, or someone to help guide you into your career, is integral.
“I have a mentor, Santilla Chingaipe from SBS.”
“She followed me on Twitter one day and I messaged her to meet for coffee. I was surprised when she actually said yes and we’ve been friends ever since!”
Jessica said that even though Santilla didn’t teach her to write, she introduced her to other people in the industry and suggested books to help with personal growth.
“She was a role model and a reminder that I could have the things I wanted for myself.”
Upon completing her degree, Jessica’s desire to wander the world spruced again, leading her to pack her Journalism dreams into a suitcase and take them with her to Canada.
“I came to Canada without a job, just a work visa and high hopes.”
Jessica freelanced for a street magazine to gain Canadian experience before trying her luck with yahoo where she landed a role as Lifestyle Editor.
“I think my willingness to learn and genuine love for writing showed and I was able to find work.”
“Once you finally land the role you’re looking for, it’s better than you’d expect.”
When you were 10, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a singer. No, THE singer.
If you had one day to try any job in the world, what would it be?
I’d be Rihanna, is that a job? I don’t even love her like that but she seems like she’s got it figured out.